Sunday, January 10, 2016

Nostalgia on tap: Three by Ron Brown

     Ron Brown. Ghost Towns of Canada (1987) A compilation of Brown’s photos and research. Very good photos, OK history. The title implies a complete record of ghost towns, but there are a few gaps. The most noticeable one is the Coal Branch in Alberta, with Luscar, Mountain Park, Cadomin, etc.
     This is one of Brown’s first books. He’s an amateur historian with a strong streak of nostalgia. The book is a pleasure to look at and read. Very well printed. **½

     Terry Boyle & Ron Brown. Ontario Album (1998) Boyle and Brown present a survey of their collections of Ontario photographs. Their notes are complete enough to give one a sense of place and time. The photos themselves vary in quality, as one might expect, but the images show us what life in Ontario was like. Boyle and Brown have selected the most informative images, not necessarily the most common or popular ones. A good read for anyone who likes to indulge in nostalgia. Very good printing. **½

     Ron Brown. Disappearing Ontario (1999) Another of Brown’s compilations of photos, this time of the remnants of an earlier Ontario. He appears to want a proper program of identifying and preserving heritage buildings and other structures. This survey of what’s still out there makes a good case, especially since some of the buildings and bridges have disappeared, for example the pin-connected truss in Iron Bridge.
     There are a few errors, for example, the simplest truss bridges are not the “king’s” or queen’s” trusses, but kingpost and queenpost trusses. Unfortunately, lackadaisical maintenance has had more to do with the loss of bridges than active destruction, which is the most common fate of buildings.
     A good read, well printed, like Brown’s other works. **½

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